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Arsenal to Become Billionaire Club
The Guardian, September 18th, 2007 4:01PM

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The Guardian's Matt Scott says that Arsenal FC effectively became "a billion-pound football club" Tuesday when Uzbeki Alisher Usmanov bought an additional 3.13 percent of the club for $40 million, bringing his total stake in Arsenal to 21 percent. The purchase means that the billionaire is now Arsenal's second largest shareholder, behind Danny Fiszman, who owns 24.11 percent. Fiszman and other major shareholders/members of the Arsenal board made an agreement not to sell their shares until next April.

American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who purchased 12.2 percent of the club in March, might be willing to offload his stake, which has appreciated more than 50 percent since his purchase six months ago. Kroenke is expected to meet with the board next month to inform them about what he plans to do with the shares.  

In all likelihood, Usmanov and his company Red and White Holdings, of which the exiled David Dein is chair, will acquire the shares they need take control of the Gunners. As Scott points out, Arsenal is an attractive prospect for investors.  Its Emirates Stadium is the richest in the world in terms of revenue and its loan to build the stadium was fixed at "an astonishingly low rate."

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